As fans of Tottenham Hotspur come to terms with equalling one of English football's most unenviable records they would do well to cast their minds back to the euphoria of Wembley of earlier this year.
Spurs looking back in anger
As fans of Tottenham Hotspur come to terms with equalling one of English football's most unenviable records, that of the worst ever start to a league season, they would do well to cast their minds back to the euphoria of Wembley of earlier this year. After almost ten years without any silverware, Spurs defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the Carling Cup final on Feb 24, igniting the hopes of the faithful that it would herald the start of a bright new era under Spainard Juande Ramos which would see the north London side establish themselves amongst the leading teams of England and Europe.
Following Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Stoke City, Spurs are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League with only two points from eight games and many fans are now viewing the Carling Cup victory as the moment when the rot set in. Since the Wembley win, Spurs have played 20 matches under Ramos, 12 at the end of last season and eight this, registering a paltry three wins. The supposed new era following last February's jubilation kicked off at St Andrews where Spurs lost 4-1 to Birmingham City, who were eventually relegated. They find themselves in exactly the same predicament as Derby County did last season when the Rams only managed two points from their opening eight games.
The Rams were relegated with a total of 11 points, the lowest in Premier League history and the omens do not look good for Spurs. Only one team, Southampton in 1998-99, have avoided relegation after failing to register a win in their opening eight matches. "At this moment everyone is very sad and I am worried about it as I don't like the situation," Ramos said after the Stoke defeat. "We need to work very hard to change the situation. This is my job and I am working very hard each day to finish this situation."
Ironically, Ramos was appointed as manager last October with the aim of making them more consistent in the Premier League, thus ensuring regular participation in the lucrative Champions League. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy brought in Ramos to replace Martin Jol, who had secured two top five finishes in his two full seasons in charge, privately insisting the Dutchman did not have the credentials to establish the team among England's top four.
Spurs are known for their consistency in cup competitions rather than the league having won eight FA Cups but only two league titles since their formation in 1882. Jol is now manager of Hamburg, who top the Bundesliga, and told the BBC recently: "I wish them all the best as they are a big club with over a million supporters, they were great to me. I pity the fans, they are the best in England." In his decision to appoint Ramos with the intention of ensuring consistency within the league and overcoming Spurs reputation as a cup team, Levy would have done well to examine the Spainard's record. During his two years in charge at Sevilla, Ramos secured only one top three finish in the Primera Liga.
The Spaniard's other titles were two Uefa Cup victories for the Spanish outfit in 2005 and 2006, a victory in the European Super Cup in 2006, lifting the Copa del Rey in 2007 and winning the Spanish Super Cup in the same year. @Email:vchaudhary@thenational.